Fundraiser nets thousands for controversial principal

 

A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to help a Gold Coast high school principal who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to clear her name in a bitter defamation court case.

Tamborine Mountain State High School principal Tracey Brose was on Friday awarded a meagre $6000 in damages to end a four-year fight against a number of disgruntled community parents.

While out-of-court settlements with a number of other parents amounted to almost $200,000, Mrs Brose was still left out of pocket by more than $400,000 in legal fees and at one point remortgaged the family home.

Tamborine Mountain High School principal Tracey Brose leaves court after the defamation ruling. Picture: Adam Head
Tamborine Mountain High School principal Tracey Brose leaves court after the defamation ruling. Picture: Adam Head

Local community members have since launched a GoFundMe page, which by Tuesday afternoon had raised over $2000 of a target of $300,000.

Lawyers for Mrs Brose had initially sought more than $1.5 million from a group of eight school parents, but the final figure from court orders and out-of-court settlements was less than $200,000.

Mrs Brose, who has maintained the case was 'never about the money', was not involved in the creation of the fundraising campaign, but has told organisers 'she has accepted our offer to help raise these funds'.

Tamborine Mountain resident Michael O'Brien launched the fundraiser, writing the case had 'now set a precedent for all educators to say enough is enough'.

"(Teachers should) have the backing of the legal system if any one of us is defamed through social media," he wrote.

"Tracey has put her entire livelihood on the line so she could stand up for all other educators.

"Tracey and her family deserve to have their lives back."

The spat started after Mrs Brose was mysteriously suspended in 2016 and a number of parents of former school students went online to share their feelings on the controversial principal.

Disgruntled parents Donna Miguel Baluskas, who were bankrupted long before they were each ordered to pay $3000 in damages during last Friday's court decision, have vowed to appeal the ruling.

Mrs Baluskas told media after the ruling by Judge Catherine Muir that Mrs Brose could 'shove the bill up her arse".

 

Donna and Miguel Baluskas embrace outside court after being ordered to pay damages to Tracey Brose. Picture: Adam Head
Donna and Miguel Baluskas embrace outside court after being ordered to pay damages to Tracey Brose. Picture: Adam Head